By Adam Sifre
Trauukh shifted uncomfortably on his haunches. His paws sunk a good way into the muddy earth and small stones and twigs dug into the hairy pads. The cold October rain caused his fur to mat in places he would rather have unmatted. Real Halloween weather.
Trauukh’s nostrils flared and the sweet smell of oil, rubber and metal came in strong, making him feel pleasantly woozy. The only thing he liked more than feeling woozy, was feeling full, which was a shame. Even though he weighed only 400 stones – practically a runt by troll standards, Trauukh was always hungry. But the night held promise.
Trauukh pushed a dirty pinky into his nostril. No surprises there. That particular boogey mine had been played out long ago. Despite the cold and the wet and the mud, it was all he could do not to bounce up and down with excitement. Tonight at moonrise was Trauukh’s 50th nameday. Tonight he went from runt cub to hunter. He’d still be puny but there’d be no more teasing for the likes of Grath and the other cubs. Being a hunter was serious business and hunters were treated with respect, or at least indifference.
His large troll eyes shined silver in the night. He could see the car lot from across street, clear as day. Well, real clear, anyway. Trolls never, ever go out during the daylight and if they did, they wouldn’t see anything clearly. Not for long.
Trauukh suffered from the same thing that all trolls suffered from. He hated humans. They all smelled like soap and garlic and exercise; and they were squishy and moist. Just the thought of them made him queasy. Bleh. Like all trolls though, Trauukh LOVED lug nuts. Sweet, oily, crunchy lug nuts. He couldn’t get enough of them. Lug nuts, lug nuts, lug nuts LUG NUTS! Yay!!! His thick orange tongue hung lazily out the side of his mouth in silent agreement. Unfortunately, where there were lug nuts, there were usually humans.
‘I only need four. Four for my nameday.’ Getting four lugnuts would be easy. Not eating them would be hard. But when he returned to the barrow with four lug nuts for all to see, Trauukh would be a hunter! And then he would really grow! Maybe even into a mountain! Mom told him stories of the mountain trolls practically every night. He pretended not to believe them, but in his heart, Trauukh wanted to believe. Most trolls, meaning every troll that he could think of, ended up as large rocks when they were done. The stories of trolls turning into hills and mountains were nothing more than fairy tales. Hmm….fairy tails. Trauukh liked fairy tails almost as much as he liked lug nuts, even though they gave me terrible gas.
The thought of terrible gas made Trauukh want to fart terribly. But troll farts were really loud, like bad thunder, and he couldn’t risk it. Humans were always out and about somewhere on Halloween and the last thing he needed now was to attract the attention of horrible children.
‘I only need four, but I can’t eat them.’ They had to be presented at the circle of stones, which made him a little angry. Stones wouldn’t eat lug nuts. They would just lay there on the ground, wasted. But that’s the way things worked. If you wanted to be a troll, you had to go along to get along. That’s what Pop always said.
When he was certain nobody was watching, Trauukh gave a great push and leapt into the air, straight to the parking lot and landed in a field of cars. LUG NUTS! So many lug nuts! So little time!. Trauukh only need four. And he only needed to make sure he didn’t eat them. Just four.